Architectural criticism

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Architectural criticism is a part of art criticism and deals with the assessment of architecture . Dealing with contemporary architecture in particular is an essential feature of architectural criticism .


One goal of architecture criticism is to show the causes of the failures of architecture.

Architectural criticism is a method of discussion. The built environment is assessed under the aspect of "distinguishing and questioning".

From a philosophical point of view, the criticism occurs:

1. Subjectively, according to personal taste and feeling, and becomes

2. Objectively justified through the application of reliable, measurable principles in order to recognize the value (or lack of value) of a design.

The aim is therefore to find an argumentative position based on these two possibilities. Contemporary architecture criticism is mostly dogmatic and instructive, as the critic always takes sides with his opinion - due to his aesthetic views from the cultural epoch from which he comes. The architecture critic exposes himself by standing between the building and the viewer and believes - always based on his point of view - that he "knows it better" than others. The criticism is also criticism of the architect as a person (in his role as a "building artist") when his work shocks and provokes or tires and bores.

Architectural criticism also includes looking at relevant texts from a linguistic, especially a linguistic point of view. Jan Büchsenschuß speaks of a "tendency towards language distortion" and shows this with numerous examples, such as phrases such as "The house is well-oriented", "flowing living space", "homeopathically broken", "highly abstract, modernistic environment", "die dirty breaks within urban planning typologies "," aluminum-glass grid facade "," rigorous stairs "," with targeted injection of the present ".


The criteria of architectural criticism are formulated by architectural theory. According to Vitruvius , the three main requirements for architecture are: Firmitas (strength), Utilitas (usefulness) and Venustas (beauty). All three categories must be taken into account equally and equally.


Historical representational architecture , such as the Parthenon or Gothic cathedrals, was created by master builders and anonymous craftsmen.

With humanism , a new conception of architecture as "free art" emerges and forms a new type: the architect as an artist who, with his building design, becomes an aesthetic mediator for the wishes of his client. Historically, the architect and the client represented the same values ​​and thus the foundations of the entire representative architecture. Those who were privileged by birth and (or) wealth increased their reputation through that of the architect. Conversely, since the recognition of a work of art depended solely on the rulers, it meant social advancement, success and further commissions for the architect. This context formed the basis for the patronage . Criticism was completely superfluous here, because you were either " in " or " out ".

In the 19th century, architecture changed due to technical progress and engineering: the division between design and construction technology. Most architects continued to create scenarios for the upper-class tastes of the time, incapable of synthesis, they did everything in their power to hide the new iron constructions behind monumental facades, thus reducing themselves to the vulnerable function of a "stylist". The theory of the "beautiful" was reduced to a system of rules and anyone who did not comply was open to criticism.

Well-known architecture critic

See also: Comité Internacional de Críticos de Arquitectura


See also


  • Adolf Behne : Architectural Critique in Time and Beyond Time: Texts 1913–1946. (Edited by Haila Ochs.) Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhäuser, 1994.
  • Jan Büchsenschuß: The flowers of the extravagant. About the tendency towards language distortion in contemporary architectural reviews. Marburg: Tectum, 2016, ISBN 978-3-8288-3819-2
  • Ulrich Conrads : Environment City. Arguments and teaching examples for a humane architecture. Reinbek near Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1974, ISBN 3-499-16885-5
  • Ulrich Conrads , Eduard Führ, Christian Gänshirt (eds.): Bringing it up. Criticism of architecture criticism. Münster: Waxmann, 2003 ( ISBN 3-8309-1304-4 )
  • Ingeborg flag (ed.): Arguing for the human city. Texts on architecture criticism. Hamburg: Junius, 1997, ISBN 3-88506-276-3
  • Wilfried Dechau (Ed.): With a sharp pen. Architecture in the German daily press. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1998 ISBN 3-4210-3171-1
  • Georg Franck , Dorothea Franck: Architectural Quality. Munich: Hanser-Verlag, 2008
  • Klaus Jan Philipp: From amateurism to censorship. On the history of architectural criticism. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1996, ISBN 3-421-03121-5
  • Manfred Sack: Architecture in Time. Reviews and reports about houses, cities and projects. CJ Bucher, Lucerne / Frankfurt am Main, 1979, ISBN 978-3-76580289-8
  • Manfred Sack: Gods and Sheep: About Houses, Cities, Architects - Reviews and Reports. , Birkhäuser, Basel, 2000, ISBN 978-3-76436141-9
  • Manfred Sack: Temptations of architecture. Critical observations and remarks on houses and cities, squares and gardens , Quart-Verlag, Luzern, 2003, ISBN 978-3-907631-22-5
  • Fred F. Stuber: On the problem of architecture criticism. Theoretical thesis. First part.; Attempt a comprehensive publication of a building. Theoretical thesis. Second part. University of Design, Ulm 1967.
  • Jürgen Tietz : What is good architecture? 21 answers . Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2006, ISBN 3421034664 .

Individual evidence

  1. Günther Binding : picture dictionary of architecture . Kröner, 1999, ISBN 3-5201-9403-1 .
  2. Jan Büchsenschuß: The flowers of the extravagant. About the tendency towards language distortion in contemporary architectural reviews. Marburg: Tectum 2016, pp. 9, 10, 26, 42, ISBN 978-3-8288-3819-2
  3. ^ Vitruv : Ten books on architecture. Translated and annotated by Dr. Curt Fensterbusch . Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1964, ISBN 3-534-01121-X , p. 45.